tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC September 30, 2012 9:00am-11:00am PDT
hello, everyone, just about high noon here in the east. welcome to weekends with alex witt. 270 within reach for the president? a new claim the debate will turn the presidential race upside down. >> lone star quake. schwarzenegger story and calls for a individuals sit to the famous chapel. we're now nearly five week toos election day and two new state polls say the road to the presidency may be getting tougher for gop challenger mitt romney. first to iowa. president obama is 49% to mitt romney's 5%. and from the columbia dispatch--this has surrogates
from both parties sangled today over who's better equipped to guide the economy over the next four years. >> the president hay has created 4 million new manufacturing jobs. he says he's going to reduce the debt. doesn't say how' goegsing to do it. let's be fair here, governor romney has laid out a vision and a direction for this country. let's hold the president to the same standard as well. >> first of all, we have a deficit plan, it's got health care savings. romney doesn't have a deficit plan. he's got a plan to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires. he's got a 5 trilli$5 trillion. -- another $2 trillion in
defense spending. >> just three days into the first presidential debate, meanwhile mitt romney is off to the trail. we have two reports, we begin with nbc's peter alexander, he's with the romney campaign in boston, with a good morning to you, peter. what are you hearing about all the debate preps today. he o'clock najs that this is an important opportunity in her debate. people have a tendency to focus on the small things, like the color of a candidate's tie or the dramatic one liners, which is his need to get across the big picture message. he says if he does that, he thinks he can be effective over the course of the next three debates and ultimately win this thing. we heard this morning from
governor chris christie of new jersey, i want to play you another clip from new jersey this morning. chris christ >> and so they're going start tuning in on wednesday night and when they do, governor romney's going to lay out his vision for a better and greater america and better opportunity for all of our citizens, and i think that's when you're going to see this race really start to tighten and move to governor romney's direction. come thursday morning, the entire narrative of this race is going to change. >> we heard from newt gingrich who has some experience standing on stage opposite mitt romney. he says one of the new challenges is to basically stand next to the president, indict his as he described them failed policy but doing them in a firm, respectful way. aids to both mitt romney and the president really try to get
under their skin. it's moments like that that can get under the president's skin. >> that debate prep is tough because they have to challenge them with their weaknesses, that can't be fun but necessary. well, just moments ago, the president left the white house en route to nevada for a campaign revent and a few days of debate preparations. >> governor romney, they have said that he's practiced zingers and lines for moves and months and months. >> i think the president's view is he's not worried about zingers and lines, he's got time with the american people to explain to them his case for re-election, about what he wants to do on the economy.
>> it's interesting, you just played the tape of the president striding across the south lawn, he got on marine 1. he's wheels up for nevada, a three-day debate camp there. he'll start with a grass roots event, so much emphasis now on motivating especially young people. he's got an event in henderson, nevada for three years. it's a debate camp and by all accounts it's going to be very intensive. you played david plouffe there and talking about the zingers and bluffs. both sides trying to emphasize their -- you remember those moments,ing the body language, the gestures, the jokes and the one liners. one of the iron anies here, nevada very instructive for the president, this whole paradox, one person called it, the
president is defying gravity. nevada a swing state t president up by two percentage points in the last poll, but it's got the highest unemployment rate in the nation, where the president is going to be saying in henderson, nevada, the epicenter for the mortgage crisis. so all eyes on denver wednesday night. >> mitt romney did very well in nevada during the primaries, so go fixture. we will see more from you later. for more front page polit politics, i'm joined by anne cornbleau and eleanor clift. let's go with you, first, eleanor, just a few days until the presidential debates, so for whom is this debate more important and why? >> romney is behind in the polls, and behind in the battle gowned states so the pressure is on governor romney to change the dynamics of the debate. he's going to help that he can
think on his feet and come up with real spontaneous responses, the fact that he's too scripted has actually worked against him. the president has to turn in a work man like performance kind of like he did at the convention, nothing that's spectacular, but nothing that loses him any ground. but a lot of pressure on romney. >> same question to you, wayne, on which one has the more pressure on him factor. >> it's really both, certainly given the way the race has been going, mitt romney has been a lot to prove, this could be a big make or break moment for him. but the way expectations have been set, which is to say that romney, after performing poorly sometimes on the stump and not as well as president obama which of course is lauded for his great oratory, i think people expect a lot from president obama, so if he does turn in a work man like performance, or if he falls into any of his traps,
if he looks peevish, anything along those lines, he could have a bad night, this although this could be a big moment for obama. >> why didn't the president come out and say what it was. >> obviously you're going to know more two weeks after an event than a week after an event, now based on the investigations of the intelligence community, they made the decision to conclude that this was a terrorist attack. in the days afterwards, that was not clear. you know, this is obviously a very, very fast moving period of time. >> eleanor, is there any
political calculation here at all? >> i think every impetus on the part of the administration was to downplay the attack because they don't want any foreign policy -- nobody comes to a protest with rocket launchers so it had -- they are the markings of something more than a spontaneous protest than had gone awry. but i do think the white house is basically placing the burden of the white house on the intelligence agency and saying they were following what they were being told and they didn't really confirm that it was a terrorist attack until some days, even a week later. and i think the president, in his initial remarks at the white house did call it an act of terror, just, yeah, all the protests. >> okay. anne let's listen to a bit more here of the matter on mete the
press. >> the president failed the level of the american people and called it a trift attack. because you had to be concerned about another terrorist attack in the middle east after al qaeda had been defeated. >> that's preposterous and really offensive. this presidential record on terrorism takes a back seat to no one. >> ann, is the white house at all concerned this may become an issue on the campaign trail? >> look, it's obviously not their finest hour at this hour. and i would note that everybody would agree that the romney campaign and the obama campaign alike that this is not first and foremost a political story, this is likely a story that happened in benghazi. certainly it isn't great for them, on the other hand, president obama does have a strong record on terrorism, one that the public has appreciated and has shown up in the polls for quite some time. i think it's hard to argue that a foreign policy event coming this late in the campaign is
going to trump the white house. >> we want to go to some early voting nowing going with you and the dnc, kicked off their early voting bus tour in iowa. ohio residents, they can start early voting day after tomorrow in ohio. it seems like the democrats have an early ground game this morning. >> it seems that republicans on election day, it could be as much as 40% of the electorate that weighs in before actually election day. it's one of the interesting parts of this campaign is figuring out if it's going to change the message, if it's going to change the message of the campaign. it's going to be more states and more people than it has been, in both absen tent and voting than
it has been -- >> i do want to take a look at your latest article which is titled, if obama wins, what changes for a second term? what are your conclusions? >> there will be wholesale change, all of the cabinet will be gone, much of the white house staff and so the president will have an opportunity really for a fresh start. there's discussions maybe erskin bowls might will treasury secretary. it will produce howls on the left, afraid the president is going to give away the store. but depending on the size of the victory, if it happens, if he just squeaks through, he's going to have to do a lot more dealings with republicans as he would like and is he going to be able to do more of the personal stroking that a lot of people thinks he needs to do as a president wooing members of congress.
tom daschle former -- if republicans want to deal, they'll find a willing voice in the white house, but this is a president that wants to deal with a small group of familiar faces whether he's playing golf or he's making policy. it's going to challenge him with a lot of his pals gone. and it's going to be fascinating to watch how rereacts if he gets that chance. all of you can watch the debate in denver right here on msnbc. the critical civil rights case is on the agenda as the supreme court is getting ready to convene tomorrow. it's all right here on weekends with alex witt. ♪ keys, keys, keys, keys, keys. ♪ well, he's not very handsome ♪ to look at [ sighs ]
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each side's in prep mode today. both president obama and mitt romney reviewing notes and strategying with their teams ahead of wednesday's face-off in denver. one of three that have the potential to alter the court of history. doug brinkley is joining me now, doug, good to see you thank you for joining us. is this a do no harm debate in or does each candidate have something to prove on wednesday? >> barack obama he and hiss choice would haven't the debate. after all today's polls are up nine points in ohio. it looks like these debates are just the rapids the president has to go through. if he didn't have them, it would
be fair sailing. so for mitt romney, these debates are essential. he's going to have to show that he's presidential. so far when he went to the olympic and maybe gaffed and he stumbled with that 44%. they're not sure they can live with the guy for four years so mitt romney has to really be the one that comes out the winner. he's got to score. >> there was a time between the famous kennedy-nixon tapes that there were no televised debates. why are they considered so vital now? >> well, the kennedy-nixon debates created so much attention in 1960. many people think that's why ted kennedy won. if you recall ford made famously the gap that -- and then certainly by 1980, ronald reagan was very behind in the polls was
just able to tidal wave over jimmy carter with quips like there you go again in a sort of staged format. since 1980, they have become part of the american landscape. >> the "new york times" recently wrote about this debate prep and the president of the united states is an awesome figure merely to share the platform with him on equal terms is the gain in stature, good performance will be gauged even better. why would any president agree to participate in an event that ultimately -- the -- because it's become now a demand, president obama suddenly bailed on debates. then, you know, he would be seeming like a poor sport. and also these debates are agreed upon long before the fall season, they're everything from
the podium to the lighting, everything is worked out between the parties. >> do you think the presidential debate has ever changed the course of an election? >> i definitely do, i think we just talked about 1960, i think it changed it. i think in 1976, in 1980, i think also one could argue in 2000, it would al gore's kind of a robotic performance against george w. bush that cost him a lot. - >> rolling his eyes and -- >> the lock box that nobody understood what he was talking about. and the way -- even the way his makeup looked. one of the problems of these debates anymore, it's not just substance, people are looking at eye rolls and body language, george herbert walker bush famously looked at his wristwatch and it cost him. there's every little nuance, there's the transcript and the television tape and i think the
tape trumps transcript in the end. >> ultimately does he really have to participate? could. he say, i'm so busy running this country, look what's happening, the amount of time that i have to put into debate prep and the like, do you really think he would come off as a spoiled sport? >> impossible for him to do that. the last time a president tried, what you're essentially calling the rose garden strategy where a president says i'm too busy to get into the american little game doesn't work. he's got to weather through this and, look, he's a great debater and mitt romney, who did a fairly good job during the g ork p runoff. so everybody is going to be watching denver come wednesday. >> do you have any sense which candidate has the greater edge going in or which one is going to play better. >> barack obama has momentum
right now and everybody loves to have that, but mitt romney has the underdog advantage. if he could just come in and there seem to at least hold his own or -- come thursday, it's a new race, and it's possible for mitt romney, and if he gets stomped on by barack obama, many people will start saying this election is over, you'll see president obama's nine point poll advantage in ohio turn to something like 11 or 12, and without ohio, the republicans can't get the white house. >> doug brinkley, good to see you as always, doug. "today's" show co-host, savannah guthrie shows us the one then she can't get a hold of. the last of our top five trending stories, a fight as broken out. five million tourists visit the
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[ male announcer ] how do you turn an entrepreneur's dream... ♪ into a scooter that talks to the cloud? ♪ or turn 30-million artifacts... ♪ into a high-tech masterpiece? ♪ whatever your business challenge, dell has the technology and services to help you solve it. . a new assessment today on the state of the presidential race to pass the 270 electoral vote. here's nbc news political director chuck todd from "meet the press" just a short time a lot. >> you look at it that way, and you go to our map to 270.
and look at this, the president four short, 265, four short of the 270. romney, a long way to go. as the sweep the rest. we're looking -- this is where if romney does what chris christie says he's going to do it, the first place you're going to see it is in those five states that are left. >> joining me now, joe says stack. and tom davis, former republican congressman from virginia. gentlemen, welcome to you both. >> let's look at this electoral map here, there is an easier path to 2780 for the president right now in states like virginia. they lost it by 270,000 votes
four years ago. i don't think obama can get the college turnouts. and i think romney is going to cut into the northern margin substance staley. i think the -- more promise, this equestering can put a big cloud over all the workers and defense workers, what's going to happen to them after november. >> all the demographics how you have to go about changing virginia. look at unemployment, it's low. they're not having as much of a problem as the rest of the nation. it's raising a huge question for federal workers as to who's going to get cut. demographics have changed, the republicans need to understand there's a very multi ethnic area. fairfax county, the largers jurisdiction in the state. so they have to address those issues and they're doing a great
job, i think. >> romnalex, if people know pennsylvania, it really is a purple state, very independent minded people. there was a susquehanna poll that had milt romney within about two points. if he's going to have a strategy in pennsylvania, he's got to focus on those counties that are outside philadelphia and pittsburgh. they're open to a message that he started with about physical responsibility in terms of their entitlements. he's going to make it clear that while we want to control entitlements, it's los got to be recognized, social security are now getting back their 2002. veterans who -- in short, what
he has to do is appeal to the common thoughts of pennsylvanians. we also always align with the kmorn wealth, like a o'o' ---the commonwealth who use their collect kive resources to get a start again in life. >> well, speak of wealth, tom, we have always been watching the big money in this election cycle and we have talked about the campaign swing -- what's the final ad blitz going to look like and how can the campaign use their money best? >> i think you use your money best on the ground in a situation like this. we're the washington nationals are going to make the playoffs for the first time and we're seeing more of romney and obama than price harper during the baseball games. we're just way out of hand with the independent groups t parties, the candidates
themselves. you want to generate your turn youth and get your base out. these messages, i think just get blurred in the closing days of the campaign. >> do you think the -- direct more of their focus do the down ballot races? can the conservative groups focus more on the house and senate races? >> i think on the whole, the people have accepted that the senate isn't going to change hands and that the house is going to stay in the republican's hands. to build upon what tom just said, it is about people. mitt romney really doesn't have to understand that he can't be with the donors like he was down in texas or california. make an appeal with the people, with the message there, i saw it in my own race. reaching out to people and having a great ground game and they do have a pretty decent one in ohio for example. where it's 21 weeks later. i think if he gets out there, if
he understands the challenges he has. at the end of the day, money matters, but not as much as talking with people. >> i want to talk about the upcoming debate. what does mitt romney want to talk about when it's all over. we heard chris christie say come sunday morning, chris game time and what is it we'll be talking about. there's a great game in the country -- people have been looking for a change, they just haven't found it yet in mitt romney. he has not made the sale. we have seen a lot of presidential races where the challenger gets on the stage and the overall metrics in this case is unemployment, it's the deficits, it's the volatility of the markets, it's gas prices, where they're looking and giving romney a good, you know, once -- lookover i call it. if he can't make the sale in these debates, he's doomed.
he has the opportunity to show not -- the metrics favor a challenger in a case like this, but the challenger's got to make the case. >> how about the president, does he have to have a do no harm strategy, does he have to have a solid performance and that's about it to close the deal? >> he has to do more than rope a dope to close the deal. and very well. as sotom alluded to as well. if these debates are really on issues of substance, for example, pressing mitt romney who's associated with wall street and corporations. that if today five banks control assets where 50% almost of gross domestic product are they really too big to fail and how would you handle it so we don't have damage again controlled by our economy. obama, you told us you were an outsider, and now you have said, boy, you can't change things from the inside. for a health care bill, you
actually had to have make a deal with billing pharma. how is reform of washington going to happen if that's what you stand for in your second term, in short, if they're aibl to get into substance based issues, i think one or the other could close the deal, but that is needed in order to get to the closing of the door. and the campaign. >> former representative -- i really enjoyed this debate. >> the challenges of covering the white house and juggling multiple other -- getting enough sleep and the segments that she needs to work on a lot. >> they actually came into the hou white house at the end of the bush administration. the first president i covered with president bush mostly on the weekends and then i started with chuck at the white house. when you have a new president, everything they do is something
of interest to your bosses so. we would be doing stories for the today show, for nightly, we would do hits on nbc. >> you did dailey run down. did that offer some sort of stability to your life. >> actually we -- it just kind of added to the plate. i remember when they said so you thought about giving you two a cable show, i thought great, when are we going to do to that? i felt that we had a full-time josh and then some. but you know what? we made it work and i have the best memories of the daily rundown. i still have it on in my office, i still -- not this office, but over at this studio, i tvs and i have the tv show on. >> what about all the political experts you speak to now, as your role and host of the "today" show. is it different, do you find, because you may have those time constraints and it's a different
platform. it is different, first of all, the way you would interview the presidential adviser or the campaign advisor on the romney c campaign, and people are extremely interested in following every twist and turn in twomt, it's different than how you would do it for the "today" show sometimes because you're talking about a laze audience where people may not be following every single last blog post from each campaign. so i think you have to understand that and respect that. but actually, there's more similarities than differences. you want to try to be on the news, you want to try to get the person you're interviewing to make news, you want to try to ask the most challenging questions that you can come up with and you want to ask the questions that you think the viewers are wondering about. >> you talk about the crazy life you're covering but your life is pretty crazy now, certainly
sleep deaf gags -- are you one of those who gets up and talk toss people and say oh, god, i only got three hours of sleep last night. >> i wake up at 3:00 in the morning, which is crazy, it's not -- >> i'm an hour behind you, but i get it. >> i'm a morning person, but 3:00 in the morning is the middle of the night. yes, i'm obsessed with sleep, how much sleep did i get, will i be able to sleep, could i nap, don't nap too long. >> you're doing cooking segments too. >> i obviously don't want the "today" show. obviously i don't crack any of these cookbooks. i never really thought about the fact they don't know how to cook until i started a the "today" show and then i would read the cooking segments, i would read them three or four times just to be prepared and then i would go in and ask these questions that
i thought america wants to know and allan would be looking at me like did you just ask that really? how long do you need to have the water boil? >> i get it. >> it's really sad, i have broken glass. it's just become a sing. but i truly, i don't know what i don't know in the kitchen. so i just try to go with it. i study it, i'm no better. up coming segment, they're going to actually try to do a week of cooking for me. my brother is a good cook, my sister is a good cook, my mom is goodish cook and she thinks, she doesn't know where she went wrong with me. >> no, that savannah is good at everything in my book. >> my guest former new jersey republican governor christy todd whitman on the state of the gop. more than a year after the
revolution that led to the ends of hi marriage, arnold schwarzenegger has decided it time to tell all. arnold schwarzenegger -- the tomorrow governor did not only discuss the affair with the housekeeper that led to a child, but also another concealed relationship with bridgette nelson. another relationship that took place before schwarzenegger was married. but the biggest relationship with the relationship that serveded his family. >> so you lied to her? >> you can say that. it was the stupidest thing i have done in the whole relationship. it was terrible. i inflicted tremendous pain on maria and unbelievable pain on the kids. >> all this comes as schwarzenegger's set to release his biography.
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review that, the amendment to the constitution is that marriage is between a man and a woman. >> they look at that and the lower courts threw that out. they said that under the supreme court's precedence in another case about gay rights, that the california voters could not amend the constitution to exclude same-sex marriage once same-sex marriage had already been offered in california. >> higher education admissions. at the heart of this case, abgait fisher, because fisher says she was denied to the university of texas because she is white. what factors would affect their ruling? >> the court has ruled before that diversity is a compelling government interest. the government in other words has an interest, universities have an interest in compiling diverse classes of students, that diversity helps everyone and that they can look at an
applicants's race in making some of those decisions. the court has changed since that last decision, that decision was written for instance by justice o'connor. some of the current justices are much less accepting of racial classification. >> the voting rights act of 1965, what part is at issue and why? >> this is a part that says certain states with a history of discriticism nation, most of them are in the south, they have to have any changes they make to election laws approved by federal authorities, either by the attorney general, or by a panel of freshmederal judges, t being challenged, saying there's no longer any reason in today's society to single out those kinds of states for special treatment. >> is there unexpected support of the president's health care law earlier this year? >> that will certainly be an
interesting issue and one that we're looking at, everyone will be looking at quite closely. it was a surprise, he departed from the conservatives, he joined the liberals in jub holding that law and there were some very hard feelings in appealing that decision. the question will be whether that's one off for the chief justice, or whether that signals something new. >> robert barnes, many thanks, see you soon. a minor effort quake rattling the town of irving, texas. it happened overnight and it measured a preliminary 3.4 magnitude. there were no reports of damage or injuries. don't be modest, b. you found a better way to pack a bowling ball. that was ups. and who called ups? you did, bob. i just asked a question. it takes a long time to pack a bowling ball. the last guy pitched more ball packers. but you... you consulted ups. you found a better way. that's logistics. that's margin. find out what else ups knows. i'll do that.
david free lander, "newsweek's" political correspondent will take us who made the illustrious -- >> a progress sorry at yale surveyed ten of the most eminent presidential and imminent histo historians. >> also tight eisenhower, he helped create the middle class up to world war ii. it was really a matter of him ushering in the matter of prosperity. building the -- he had this air of prosperity in the 1950s. >> wasn't this build as an escape route for the atomic bomb? >> many, many politicians revere
ronald reagan. they have admired that. along with many americans, what do you think is behind his popularity, ultimately? he was the president during a time of broadly shared prosperity in the 190s and he helped to usher in that prosperity. and as our story points out, he was a great communicator. >> also on the list, bill clinton, he made that big old splash in the dnc. why was his presidency such a success? >> i think it was him helping the democratic party. helping ending the motion of the a robust welfare state and really modernizing the democratic party and making it more business friendly. >> is there someone who this yale historian decided was the worst president?
>> he did not ran rank the worst president of the last 100 years. >> but president obama made that cut, being the most recent. not only even that. i think he was a path breaking president, you look at health care reform. it it it's. >> okay, thank you so much. >> what it takes to prepare to moderate a presidential debate. former abc news news anchor joins us in the next hour with her experience. and the next. there's cash flow options from pnc. solutions to help businesses like yours accelerate receivables, manage payments,
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10:00 a.m. in the west. a new reaction today from paul ryan. >> we have had some missteps. but at the end of the day, the choice is really clear. and we're giving people a very clear choice. we have these pro growth solutions for opportunity and upward mobile and a dynamic economy. you've got the president basically promising four more years like the last four years. and here and there. we have not been able to frame that choice clearly. by the end of the day, people are not going to understand exactly what they have got. >> a voluntary campaign senior advisor is seeking to clarify the president's plan even after the currency of the economy. >> the president's not ga qualifiesed. we have now created 5 million
jobs, we're net positive in terms of jobs created. but whole is huge, and we have to create an commit in which the middle class has a chance. we're not going to get back there by getting back to the same policies we have had before. >> the des moines register poll shows a four-point lead in ohio. in ohio the president is currently ahead in -- president obama boarded air force one a short time ago and is now heading to nevada for our campaign event tonight. we'll also spend several days preparing for wednesday's debate. good daze to you mike. let's get to the president's agenda. he's traveling to nevada. >> it's so interesting, alex, so much of the leadup going into these debates, we have seen almost a comical -- lower those expectations all ryan in that
same interview said that he didn't expect it to be a game changer, not wang all those polls that you just cited. so don't forget, we have got three presidential debates and two unemployment reports between now and election day. but there was one big exception today. it's always very interesting when this happens. chris christie on meet the press, says come thursday morning, the morning right after the debate. he expects to see a completely different dynamic in this debate. that governor romney is going to do so well that things are going to turn around for him. don't now owe that the obama campaign the communications direct for the campaign drawing reporters attention repeatedly to that comment. they're perfectly happy. as we mentioned the president left the south lawn, walked out of the residence on a bright sunday morning, went out to
joint base andrews. he with the obama campaign manag manager. >> the governor has the advantage. do his supporters really believe that. >> some of these debate expectations are really getting comical m 78 -- so, yeah, that would be lowering expectations quite a bit to this sort of ridiculous degree. this is all about sort of getting us in the media to write that so-and-so did better than
expectations and therefore one is therefore is going to have some kind of momentum coming out of this. mitt romney is having a lot of experience debating over the last year or so. president obama one of the best or rat fors in poll tics today, going through this exact stage, as the president debate approaches, he did this back in 2008, so i think both these guys are much better debaters than they're going to tell you over the next couple of days. i don't believe a lot of things coming out of the senior advisors mouths these days. >> i want to throw up quickly what the doctor advisor said to, what beth myers said to earlier. this was natural gifts and extensive seasoning under the bright lights of the debate stage, heralding president obama's talents at going this. i'm curious dana, do you think chris christie went off script earlier today, when he said, come thursday morning, we're
going to be talking about the outstanding job that mitt rom y romney. he's supposed to be saying my guy has a speech impediment. >> here comes the comical that reed was talking about. he has to come out attacking and trying to dislodge obama. >> did he emerge from any one of them as a clear winner, dana?
>> there wasn't any -- he was solid, but with a couple of exceptions, but in each one you would say he won on points. there was no knockout, he was very skilled at that, but that's not to say that obama isn't. i don't think either of them is sort of the classic college debater. but they're both very capable. i'm going out to denver and getting some popcorn and enjoy the show. >> president obama is meeting with seniors and he's talking about medicare. >> mid romney said at the time were he president in this past, he would sign it into law. sign into law the requirement you all come up with $6,400 a year more for the same benefits and now they say to us, no, no, no, joe, we don't have that plan anymore. >> could joe biden be more effective will florida than paul ryan than that medicare message
he duft jifred. . >> there is the state where that has one of the oldest populations in the u.s., it is the state where democrat also use paul ryan's budget plan most aggressively against the -- we're also seeing it in the senate race down there and a bunch of house races down there, democrats really think that's the way to drive a wedge between republicans and seniors who have been -- there's a larger question here and this gets to the problem of mitt romney's pass to president obama's 270 electoral votes. one of the most conservative swing states that president obama won back in 2008. the amount of money that both campaigns are throwing at this state, it's very clear that nobody has put it away yet, and in fact that obama leads most of the polls. if some of these swing states aren't going to --
>> well, dana, they sent paul ryan to the major league state of ohio and he was talking about medicare while come paining. >> i want to be very care about this, mitt romney and i will never waiver in our commitment to our seniors. our plans actually save these programs, they make no changes for people in or near retirement, they strengthen medicare and social security for a generation. >> i'm curious, a new quinnipiac poll shows that toward the end of august, more seniors in florida favored mitt romney on medicare. now that has flipped, more seniors now support president obama with medicare. what do you make of the numbers, did mitt romney make too much baggage on this critical issue when he selected paul ryan? >> part of that is more exposure being brought to what's going on here? there's so many ryan plans and originally he did get -- it sort
of evolved until he gets closer and closer as he gets more and more defensive here, he is in part ryan what's going on in florida. overall, the third rail doesn't exist anymore. what happened is there was just a reduceded or delayed effect of the electricity and i think they're now getting the jolt. >> rita, i don't want to get ahead of ourselves here, but one of our articles is-what are your thoughts on that? >> at the moment, the fact that mitt romney is behind in all these swing states, conservatives is blaming the media, they're blaming pollsters, they're blaming everybody but the candidate himself, if he were to lose, believe me that blame will shift. a lot of conservatives will say, well, we knew he wasn't a conservative enough. remember the severely conservative right. once they focus their blame on the candidate himself, well,
then you're going to ta start talking about a 2014, sort of senate landscape where they're looking for the most conservative potential candidates, a 2016 presidential contest where they're talking more about the rick santorums than the mitt romneys. this could signal a pretty significant shift to the right. >> your latest title focused on 34i9 romney. commiserating with the moneyed masses. >> i went to his event in northern virginia and he was talking to a group of veterans and large numbers of unemployment and income forming and i took a stroll through the parking lot with that my roles and the romney bumper sticker on it. but i think that was a metaphor for what the problem is here and that he has his reputation of being a scrooge mcduck and he
can't seem to shake it no matter what he says. it's just sort of baked in at this point, i don't know how he gets around and positions himself as a man of the people when he's seen as the man of bain capital. >> we're going to get some unique insights about presidential debates from a broadcasting pioneer carol simpson was the first minority woman to moderate a presidential debate back in 1992, he's going to join us in about a half an hour. we're getting a deadly reminder of the -- two americans, one soldier and one civilian contractor killed during another green on blue attack in this remote check point in the war zone province of avenue stop. this means alone the number of americans alone killed in afghanistan has officially hit 2,000. richard's joining me live from kabul. richard, we're glad to have you here, what do we know about this
latest attack? >> we know this is the 52 and nato personnel to be killed in this kind of attack, they now account for about 20% of all american combat deaths in this country and that is an unsustainable kind of figure. 20% of troops being killed in this country by their own partners, bring the people they're here to train. what happened this this particular incident, it actually happened last night. it was on the main highway, highway 1, as it's called, there was a flash checkpoint, u.s. troops went out, they set up this check .a group of afghan soldiers, two on foot. the -- they're supposed to be partners with the afghans so that is something that is encouraged to work together on a checkpoint. they exchanged a few words and one of these afghan troops pulled out a weapon, opened fire, killed an american soldier, killed an american contract for, who was there
contracted as a trainer and then other americans opened fire and killed three afghan soldiers. >> richard, it's important to know that this statistic, very grim as it is, relates to those that were killed inside afghanistan, it does not tend to those who may have died maybe at hospital ors anyone back home? >> the 2000 figure is somewhat confusing, it represents people who died in country as opposed to who were fatally wounded and then died in germany and our once they got to the united states. the overall combat deaths is around 2150. while today's number is large, the fact that troops are getting killed in increasingly
frequently by their own people, it's infuriating to troops. i was recently embedded with marines in southern afghanistan. they very angry not with their so-called partners, they're angry with their own partners, because their expanders are so on message, saying that you are goal here is to support the afghan army, support the afghan troops, it's working, everything is on trarks they effectively become apologizists for the karzai government, apologists for the afghan national army. one marine told me he was furious because one kmaernd had told m him that -- the afghan soldier slippeded and accidentally fired his weapon. and the marine said that's just not possible, he dropped to his
knee and opened fire. the ground troops say that the command is not fully admitting oreck oreck -- or recognizes. >> richard engel, many thanks for that. still ahead, battle ground states, in a new snapshot in the electoral breakdown. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." why should our wallets tell us what our favorite color is? every room deserves to look great. and every footstep should tell us we made the right decision. so when we can feel our way through the newest, softest, and most colorful options... ...across every possible price range... ...our budgets won't be picking the style. we will. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. right now get $37 basic installation on all special order carpet.
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president obama visited ohio last week as well. the latest poll shows the president up over nine points over mr. romney. absentee bat los -- but can the congressman and governor romney close the deal in the badger state in the imagine who scareded off against scott walker against in the gub natural torl elections, mayor barrett, thank you so much for joining me. so the president hit the 50% mark in her state. how could you compare the president -- >> well, it's rising and i think when paul ryan was first name as a presidential-vice presidential
can dwat. the president was here last week, he'll be here later this week. i think they know they're not going to have a 14-point victory here. but they're hoping to please the deal pretty soon. >> is that what you attribute this surge to? >> well, i think that is certainly one of the factors, but i think another one is that the president does have a strong ground game here in wisconsin and as you can imagine, there's going to be a much larger turnout in the november election than in any of the previously election. that always brings a lot of students out. but they're working very, very hard here, the obama campaign has got a very, very strong game in wisconsin. >> any change in the environment
since the recall election versus what's going to happen in five weeks plus? >> i think it has changed tremendously, there was a huge financial advantage for the republicans and the recall. although mitt romney has now begun spending here in wisconsin for many, many weeks, it was really quiet here. and it was only after they chose paul ryan as his vice presidential candidate that he started spending money here. so we're seeing advertising for both camps, so you're also seeing a president making a concerted effort. the president's been here twice in the last three weeks. i'm very confident that he's going to win. >> bill clinton, he's a big factor in the race, he campaigned for you in the recall electi election. >> well, i think he's a great
asset and you can send bill clinton anywhere in this country and people like bill clinton and they like what he stands for and i hope the president continues to use them because president clinton, what he's been in wisconsin, he's very, very popular, he's always done well here in wisconsin. i think just having him in a battleground state is a huge asset. it presents a serious issue for mitt romney because they don't have anyone who can match bill clinton. >> tommy thompson is a popular guy, what it's changed? >> tommy thon son is -- washington changed him. and he hasn't been in office in wisconsin since 2000, 2001. and so that's a along i'm in politics. >> milwaukee mayor tom barrett,
wisconsin, appreciate all the insights there. and looking at the latest polls, if the election were held today, the president would re-election. obama would claim 270 electoral votes with wins in ohio and 189 other states. romney would capture 206 electoral votes by winning 23 states. ing [ male announcer ] it's chevy truck month. now during chevy truck month, get 0% apr financing for 60 months or trade up to get the 2012 chevy silverado all-star edition with a total value of $8,000. hurry in before they're all gone!
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how does it contrast with joe biden's? >> he's a straight shooter so i think we want to stay opinion himself. not try to project an aura that really isn't him. >> comparity joe biden has been on that debate stage a time or two, he really understands and how to perform under that pressure. this is all paul ryan's and he wants to let people know who he is and the things he believes in. he's a very staunch conservative and holds very close views that he's proud of and he wants to be able to explain to people why he believe what is he believes and why he thinks a romney ryan administration ould -- >> i think he's the guy who wants to keep everything on the economy. everybody will agree that he has studied it inside out. he knows what he thinks based on preparation and study. >> this is a 90-minute debate so obviously we're going to talk a lot about the economy.
so the campaign officials working with paul rye yachb have been bringing him up to speed. the believing books. >> >> he ethey want to get -- >> something that we have heard at the top of the hour, is that mr. ryan admits that there's been missteps in the campaign so far. is he off message? because mr. romney has made great strides trying to qualify the comments. not calling it a misstep.
>> okay, ron mott, go you have you here. they are practicing for the debates and for some perspective for that one, i'm joined by carol simpson, the only minority to moderate a presidential debate. carol, it's great to have you here. >> it's great to talk to you, alex. i watch you every weekends. >> and i have watched you for so
long. i want to ask you about the 1992 debate that you moderated. it's a huge stage, what goes into getting ready for that? >> i only had five days to prepare when i was notified that i would be a moderate for. so let me tell you, i did have the briefing books just like the presidential candidates, i studied day and night their positions on every issue there was. i understood the rich and undecided voters and what issues they were concerned about. so it took a lot of preparation. but you know what i learned? >> what? >> i learned and i'm going to sup jet some people now but debates are more about style than substance. paul ryan can read all of these books about world leaders and
his economic plan and mitt romney can talk about his five-point plan for the economy, but the advantage of being a moderator is that people told me what they thought about the debate after the debate. and the things they told me were things like why did george w. bush look at his watch? where did he have to go? why was he anxious to get out of there? and people tell me now that they want to see how they do. they don't want to hear, i think they have heard a lot about the economy, and they're not interested in the nimine nush that. so it's really about style skbrchlt i don't think you're going to upset a lot of people except maybe candidates because a lot of people come away, honestly, carol, from these debates and talk about what we will talk about years after the fact. it is the one liners, it is
looking at your watch and where did he have to go. ? that kind of thing is very dipity because it's a performance buy these guys. truly. >> it is. it is and that's why i call it a performance art. i hope they are preparing, you know, like, al gore should not have been sighing as he did, in his debate with george w. bush. they have to concerned every gesture they make. every little smile that might be inappropriate. so that's what i'm going to be looking for, i teach students at emerson college and we're learning road to the white house and so i will have them looking at those kinds of things. we know they know what their facts are and what their talking points are, it's the unusual that sticks in people's minds. >> and that will make for
certainly a very interesting class. >> president bush, independent ross perot and at the time democratic challenger bill clinton. what were your impressions of the three as you look back now? >> well, i love george w. bush, i covered him for eight years when he was vice president so i knew the family, i knew all of the children and grandchildren and i have great respect for him. bill clinton i knew because i covered education and he was the arkansas governor that tried to do a lot to improve education in arkansas a. ross perot i did not know, but my impression of him was that he was a little kooky. >> so but yornt surprised by the "snl" parodies i take it afterwards? >> you know, he wasn't part of deciding what the set wiz going to look like and they chose
stools and he never sat on the stool because his legal feet were dangling. oh, my, his feet were dangling over the side so. he stood the whole time. but again, look at the performance, george bush stayed at his chair the entire time of the debate and bill clinton just waded right into the audience, he was within arm's length of some of the questioners an people saw that and thought wow, he really does understand u, he does know what we're feeling, he has the little bite in his lip and that warmth that just comes through this. obama and romney are both great speakers, but i think obama's got the edge in terms of turning a phrase. >> given the way that you are describing this and the ways that people remember, i think you've got to be giving the edge
to president obama and the way he's able to real to people. >> is he truly an or for. >> you have written a piece critical to the mods rate for panels. tell us about that. well i was chosen on the commission of presidential debates and was told that they wanted a oprah style town hall debate, that had never been tried before and they wanted to try that and oprah at that time was very much in the audience talking about to people and so i was excited so that was fine with me. what was disturbing was that 20 years later, kand crowlandy cro, who was one of the best political reporters in the country is being given the same role that i had. i didn't get to ask my own questions. i held the microphone while
these undecided voters got to ask their questions, i followed up, i could make sure thirp answering the requests, but in a year with women's issues and reproductive rights and contraception and abortion have come up and women are very concerned about them. i'm not happy that candy is not able to ask her own questions. yet, bob sheaver, great reporter, jim larry, great moderator, they can ask those questions surely, but they would haven't the impact than if they came from a woman. he have those reproductive systems that men are telling us what we can and cannot do with. so i wish that we had the opportunity, i feel that we are being marginalized, that women are not able to go mano-a-mano
with the people. >> duly noted, carolina sump son, i'm glad we gave you time to share that, i see your point, well taken, thank you very much. good to speak you with. and we remind all of you you can watch the debate this wednesday night at 9:00 even. will president obama play it safe and perhaps president obama go on the attack? questions and answerings coming up next. and every footstep should tell us we made the right decision. so when we can feel our way through the newest, softest, and most colorful options... ...across every possible price range... ...our budgets won't be picking the style. we will. more saving. more doing.
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hi, you guys, good to see you all. i'll begin with you, ann. first of this t-minus three days until the debate. >> he's still struggling to revive the passion and excitement that propelled him to the white house in 2008 and about mitt romney, the quote is, grasping for his last best chance to reboot his campaign after a disastrous september. tell me about for whom this debate is more important. 6. >> the descriptions are spot on. and the conception has been that mitt romney has a lot more at stake. obviously he's been behind and this is make or break for him. he could do a lot of good or he could do a lot of harm. i don't think we can write off the importance of this to president obama too, he is
obviously a skilled orator but during the democratic presidential in 2008, he had a few famous moments where he didn't perform as strong asly some of the people he was debating against, mainly as senator clinton. there were pitfalls for him too, and when the white house says he hasn't been practicing, and he hasn't been practicing his oneliners. >> you know, doug, president obama is leading in all the battleground states and all the latest polls. do you think he can play it safe in these debates because he has the momentum on his side? >> when you're ahead in the polls. i do think there's a bit more pressure on romney here because he's got to change the dynamics in this race. but president obama has a job to do so. he is trying to inspire the people who put him in office and
these great poll numbers don't mean anything else people show up to vote. he could do both of those things without making mistakes in the debates, i think. >> why is it that the president's advisors are lowerilower ing expectations? i'm looking at recently as the air force one gavel that came through. that's exactly what's going on all today. >> don't you think people see through that? all of us are going, oh, come on, when you have these glowing reports about the opposition, this guy's fabulous in this regard, you're like, oh, really, come on. >> obviously if you look at this, sure the president's being preparing but he's also being the president. romney had 20 debates in the republican primary. but all accounts his own. he's had a lot of time to prepare. that matters. so i think he is an aggressive
practiced debate for and he rightfully does have expectations. and because he does that and because he comes in with so much practice and success under his beth and because there's a lot of pressure on him to change his dynamics. >> let's see what the president said about mitt romney on "morning joe" on friday. >> do you think he has the ability. >> i debated him 15 or 17 times. he's a better debater than any of our mom knees. >> you know, robert, some analysts say that mitt romney has to make somewhat of a hail matter pass? is that putting too much pressure on him? >> what mitt romney has to do is make a very good first impression, this is his first opportunity to be able to go into americans' living rooms and say this is why i want to be president. >> wait a minute, this is the first opportunity he's had to do this?
seriously? >> well, let's keep in mind here, a lot of people watch the republican and democratic conventions, but those were already convert as you say. most people have not been paying attention. so this is the first opportunity for him and also obviously get this economy back on track. and so when you take a listen to them, they're probably saying, i'm going to tune on wednesday for the first time and make my decision. >> okay. theme number two is going to go with who is going to win. so i want to read to you, ann, part of a "new york times" op-ed and here's how it goes. the order in which the candidates answer the first question matters when the format has them answering the same
questions. the one who goes second will have time to think about his answer a luxury his adversary will not have. do you agree with that? >> i'm sure that's true. the flip side of that is the person who goes first has the opportunity to come out with a one-liner to really stake out a position. you don't want to be in a debate where, when you're on opposite sides of the aisle, you don't want to be mirroring each other in any way. i think both of them can think on their feet some. i think both of them odds are will have practiced whatever these questions are. i know they're going to try to come up with things they haven't thought of. the prep folks who do, the prep work with both of these guys are going to be very skilled at coming up with whatever they might be. i think it's going to be a question of how they interact with each other. not the stock answers they give. what the body language is. more than their zingers or their one-liners. >> it's also about the optics. to both you, doug and robert i'm going to have my director jason throw up a full screen.
it talks about the fact that the challenger will gain advantage by showing up and being on a platform on the same stage with the president of the united states. who do you react to that assessment, doug sm. >> i agree that just simply standing there on an equal footing with the president gives the challenger extra stature. when you look back at past debates, people often credit the challenger with a good performance. i think there is something to that. >> robert, do you agree? >> i totally agree with you. look, debates are the only opportunity where the challenger and the president are one, they're on the same team, the same platform, if you will. and thus in the process they're equal. so the question becomes is whether or not who has the right answers, but just as important as ann mentioned a few momentsinmoments i ago, who is more comfortable and likable. the question is who is the most likable in this scenario. >> echoing some of the sentiments of carroll simpson
earlier. must-read, we'll have the big three after this. and decided to. that's how i met marilyn... giada... really good. yes! [ jack ] ...and alicia. ♪ this girl is on fire [ male announcer ] use any citi card to get the benefits of private pass. more concerts, more events, more experiences. [ jack ] hey, who's boring now? [ male announcer ] get more access with the citi card. [ crowd cheering, mouse clicks ] woman: what do you mean, homeowners insurance doesn't cover floods? [ heart rate increases ] man: a few inches of water caused all this? [ heart rate increases ] woman #2: but i don't even live near the water. what you don't know about flood insurance may shock you -- including the fact that a preferred risk policy starts as low as $129 a year. for an agent, call the number that appears on your screen.
back to the big three. my panel today, ann cornblat, doug hattaway and robert trainham, what's your must-read. >> a great story on the "washington post" about romney's wealth and why it's been such an issue in the campaign. >> it is a good story. how about you, doug, what's your must read? >> smmine is a somewhat chillin expo say in the "atlantic" about ballot cops, targeting african-americans, latinos, to make it harder for people to vote. >> i'm going to get to that how but, robert? >>, front page of the politico, has paul ryan talking about the 47% comment. it's not good in september when you're talking about this and playing defense, not good at all. >> i was talking about that very factor just a few minutes ago. thank you very much.
we'll see you again no doubt. and all of us as well, thanks for joining us, that's a wrap up of this sunday's edition of "weekends with alex whitt." have a great day. oh, hey alex. just picking up some, brochures, posters copies of my acceptance speech. great! it's always good to have a backup plan, in case i get hit by a meteor. wow, your hair looks great. didn't realize they did photoshop here. hey, good call on those mugs. can't let 'em see what you're drinking. you know, i'm glad we're both running a nice, clean race. no need to get nasty. here's your "honk if you had an affair with taylor" yard sign. looks good. [ male announcer ] fedex office. now save 50% on banners. but i'm still stubbed up. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't unstuff your nose. what? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus liquid gels speeds relief to your worst cold symptoms plus has a decongestant for your stuffy nose. thanks. that's the cold truth!
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